Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School

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Classics

Aims and Philosophy

Classical subjects are available to all pupils in various forms, and it is the Department’s aim to encourage and stimulate pupils’ curiosity about ancient Greek and Roman culture and society.   This is achieved both through the teaching of the Latin language and the study of Classical history, literature and civilisation.   Studying these subjects provides our pupils with an appreciation of the ancient world and enables them to understand connections between ancient and modern cultures.   Pupils learning about the Greek and Roman world can more fully understand the modern western world in which they live.

Public examination results in the Classics Department are excellent and each year some pupils decide to continue their studies at degree level, frequently at Oxbridge.   Classical subjects are also highly regarded by employers in a wide range of professions, who recognise the analytical and problem solving skills which the learning of Latin and Classical Civilisation require.

Teaching Staff

Miss P Foy (Head of Classics)

Mr P Stubbings (Headmaster)

Miss L Davies-Evitt (Teacher)

Curriculum by Year Group

Latin

Key Stage 3

Latin is taught to pupils in Sets 1 and 2 from the First to the Second Form (Years 7-8).   The Cambridge Latin Course is followed.   In these years, pupils learn a range of vocabulary and grammatical structures, developing their translation, logical and analytical skills.   They also gain an appreciation of aspects of ancient Roman life and culture.

Key Stage 4 - GCSE

The OCR syllabus is followed for GCSE Latin.   The course is designed to teach pupils about both the language and the literature of the ancient Romans.

The language component of the course is studied intensively throughout the Third and Fourth Form (Years 9 and 10).   The Cambridge Latin and ecce Romani courses are followed.

The Literature components are studied during the Fourth and Fifth Form (Years 10 and 11), as well as continuing with language work.

50% of the course covers Latin unseen translations, whereby pupils are required to provide translations of short passages from Latin into English, as well as answer comprehension questions.   A vocabulary list and summary of grammatical structures is provided for the pupils.  

25% of the course is dedicated to the study of Verse Literature.   Pupils are required to answer comprehension questions and provide short translations based on Latin passages written by authors studied during the course.   These passages are typically set on passages from Virgil’s Aeneid.

25% of the course covers Prose Literature.   In this paper, pupils are required to answer a series of comprehension questions and provide short translations based on the work of specified prose authors including Cicero, Caesar and Tacitus.

Key Stage 5 – AS/ A Level

The AS and A2 courses are available for all pupils who have achieved GCSE grades A* - B in Latin.  

AS Level

50% of the AS course (which comprises 25% of the A Level qualification) is devoted to the study of Latin language.   Pupils enhance and develop the translation skills acquired during the GCSE.   In the examination they are required to translate two passages of Latin prose into English.   Both passages are unseen examples of literature, one of which is taken from the work of the prose set text author, Cicero.

50% of the AS course is comprised of verse and prose literature.   Pupils are required to answer comprehension questions and discuss points of literary technique on two authors.   Sections of Cicero’s in pro Milone and Virgil’s Aeneid VIII are currently the set texts.

A Level

50% of the A2 course (which comprises 25% of the A Level qualification) is based on verse literature.   The text currently set for study is Virgil’s Aeneid 10.   Pupils are required to answer comprehension questions and discuss literary technique for each author.   They must also scan some lines of Latin.

This paper also contains an unseen element, which is the translation into English of a passage, currently taken from the works of Ovid.

50% of the A2 course is based on prose literature.   For this component, sections of Tacitus’ Annales XIV is studied.   Pupils are tested in examination by a series of comprehension questions and short essays.   The author set for unseen prose translation and comprehension is Livy.

There is no coursework requirement for this qualification.  

Classical Greek

The option to study Classical Greek is open only to pupils who have studied Latin at KS3.

Key Stage 4 - GCSE

The OCR syllabus is followed for GCSE Greek.   The course is designed to teach pupils about both the language and the literature of the ancient Greeks.

The language component of the course is studied intensively throughout the Third and Fourth Form (Years 9 and 10).   The Reading Greek course is followed.

The Literature components are studied during the Fifth Form (Year 11), although language work also continued throughout this year.

50% of the course covers Greek unseen translations, whereby pupils are required to provide translations of short passages from Greek into English, as well as answer comprehension questions.   The passages upon which these tasks are set are based on stories from Greek mythology.   A vocabulary list and summary of grammatical structures is provided for the pupils.  

25% of the course is dedicated to the study of Verse Literature.   Pupils are required to answer comprehension questions and provide short translations based on Greek passages written by authors studied during the course.

25% of the course covers Prose Literature.   In this paper, pupils are required to answer a series of comprehension questions and provide short translations based on the work of specified prose authors.

Key Stage 5 – AS Level

AS Level Greek is also taught as an extra-curricular two year course to pupils who wish to continue their GCSE studies.

Classical Civilisation

Key Stage 4 – GCSE

The GCSE course is open to all pupils who have an interest in the Classical world and opt to study it as a GCSE subject.   As it is largely a literature based subject, it is recommended for pupils who are prepared to read independently and write essays.   It provides pupils with the opportunity to learn about Greek and Roman civilisations through the study of Classical culture and literature in translation.   It is structured as follows: 

Third Form

Pupils complete an introductory course which broadly covers some aspects of the Classical world, for example, Greek and Roman society and entertainment and the Roman Emperors.   This enables pupils to gain an appreciation of ancient societies and realise the origins of many of our own customs and culture.

Fourth Form

50% of the course is covered, based on the study of Greek and Roman religion and mythology.

Fifth Form 

50% of the course is covered, based on the study of Mycenaean society and Homer’s Odyssey.  This epic story tells of the adventures of the Greek hero Odysseus and the many trials he encounters on his return from the Trojan War.

The rest of the year is spent in revision and preparation for the GCSE examinations.

Key Stage 5 – AS/ A Level

(This syllabus will run until summer 2018.   From September 2018 a newly structured course will commence.)

AS Level

50% of the AS course (which comprises 25% of the A Level qualification) is based on the study of Homer’s Odyssey and Society.   The focus of this module is appreciation of Greek literature, society and values.

50% of the AS course comprises of the study of Greek Tragedy in its context.   Pupils study Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, Sophocles’ Antigone and Euripides’ Medea and Electra.  

A2 Level

50% of the A2 course (which comprises 25% of the A Level qualification) is based on the study of Art and Architecture in the Greek world.   Pupils study ancient Greek free standing sculpture, architectural sculpture, temple structure and vase paintings.   Focus of study is the appreciation of the function and the religious and cultural significance of Greek Art.

50% of the A2 course is based on Virgil and the world of the hero.   Pupils learn the features and structure of epic poetry by studying Virgil’s Aeneidand sections of Homer’s Iliad.

All literature studied is in English translation.

For each of the AS and A2 modules, pupils are required to answer one context question and write one essay based on the literature and primary evidence studied.   Each of these modules will be assessed by examination.   There is no coursework requirement for this qualification.

Outside the Classroom

Pupils’ fascination with the Classical world is developed outside the classroom, with the Department arranging a number of educational visits each year to relevant lectures, workshops, museums and theatres.   Pupils of Classical Civilisation have recently seen productions of Euripides’ Medea and Trojan Women, plays covered in the A Level syllabus.      They have also lately visited the British Museum to view sculptures and vases covered in the Art and Architecture component.   Sovereign Education lecture days are attended by pupils of both Classical Civilisation and Latin.   These covered all the AS and A2 modules for each of the classical subjects, and pupils are able to learn from such esteemed experts as Peter Jones and Edith Hall.  

We also invite a number of experts in to the school to talk to our KS4 and KS5 pupils.   In recent years we have welcomed presenter Bettany Hughes to talk to the pupils about her BBC series on Sparta and her involvement in the 300 film and author Tom Holland to talk about his bestselling translation of Herodotus’ Histories.

To celebrate the school’s centenary in 2015, the Classics Department organised a trip for thirty KS4 and KS5 pupils to Rome and Pompeii.

Events that the Department ran in 2016-17 included:

  • Weekly First and Second Form Classics Club. Run by volunteer Sixth Form Classical Civilisation pupils.
  • Teachers in the Classics Department also run Work Support Sessions for pupils in KS4 and KS5 who need assistance in their studies.
  • 14/3/17 - Sovereign Education Lecture Day on AS Latin Set Texts for Lower Sixth Latin pupils.
  • 23/3/17 - Classics Society production in Greek of Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound at St Paul’s Girls’ school for 4Gk and 5Gk pupils.
  • 30/3/17 – U6CC trip to the British Museum.
  • 10/4/17 – Easter revision Course for 5CC on Homer’s Odyssey and Sparta.
  • 11/4/17 – Easter revision Course for L6CC on Greek Tragedy.
  • 12/4/17 – Easter revision Course for U6L on Virgil and unseen poetry translation.

Classics Week 2017

  • 12/6/17 - Classics Film Club the theme of which was ‘Greek mythology’. Pupils watched clips from the Hollywood blockbuster Troy and discussed the significance of the Trojan War to the Greeks.
  • 13/6/17 - Pupils from years 1 and 2 were invited to the library at lunchtime on Tuesday to take on the challenge of the Percy Jackson quiz. The pupils’ knowledge of the well-loved series was put to the test.
  • 13/6/17 - Caroline Lawrence, author of the P.K. Pinkerton and Roman Mysteries series, visited the School. She spoke to First and Second Formers about Myths, Movies and Storytelling. Caroline’s enthusiasm for the ancient world is infectious and pupils left her engaging and entertaining talk clearly inspired.
  • 14/6/17 - Twenty young artists from Years 1, 2 and 3 tried their hands at Greek vase painting. Following the techniques of the ancients, they produced an excellent range of black and red figure vases.  
  • 15/6/17 – First Form Toga Party. Pupils and teachers alike arrived at the library in their droves to wear make-shift togas, sample the food of the ancient world and try their hand at a version of the game kottabos, a firm favourite at the symposium.   Pupils even indulged in some Greek-style dancing and great fun was had by all.
  • 15/6/17 - GCSE and A Level Classical Civilisation, Latin and Greek pupils were entertained by a talk from author Ben Kane. Dressed in full Roman legionary uniform, he spoke about the Roman army and gave pupils a real flavour of what it would have been like to serve at Rome, across the empire and in far flung and mysterious places like Britain. His talk drew to close with an interesting Q and A session about Roman history, being an author and his own background.
  • 16/6/17 - Classics Film Club the theme of which was ‘Greek Mythology’. Pupils watched clips from the Clash of the Titans and discussed the myth of

Perseus.

  • Pupils applying to read Classical subjects at university are given support with their Personal Statements and mock- Oxbridge Interviews are also provided by staff in the Department.

Enrichment activities 2017-2018:

  • 26/9/17 – L6CC trip to Cambridge University to attend a lecture day designed to enhance pupils’ understanding of the AS Classical Civilisation modules.
  • 28/9/17 – L6L trip to Cambridge University to attend a lecture day designed to enhance pupils’ understanding of the AS Latin modules.
  • 18/10/17 – U6CC trip to Stratford to see a performance of Shakespeare’s Dido, Queen of Carthage at the RSC. This trip is intended to strengthen pupils’ understanding of themes and characterisation in Virgil’s Aeneid (particularly Book IV) studied as part of their World of the Hero A2 module.
  • 20/11/17 – U6CC and U6L trip to Henrietta Barnet school to hear a Dido and Aeneas talk by Professor Edith Hall, relevant the their A2 study of Virgil’s Aeneid.
  • 7/2/17 – L6CC trip to see a production of Euripides’ Medea to enhance pupils’ understanding of the staging of Greek tragedy, relevant to their AS Greek Theatre module.
  • 13/4/18-17/4/17- Classics trip to Rome and Naples for 2nd Form to 4th Form pupils.

Activities advertised:

  • Pupils are invited to take part in the Girton College (University of Cambridge) Classics Writing Competition. Deadline:  Friday 16 March.
  • Lower Sixth Form pupils are encouraged to apply for the UNIQ Classics Summer course in Oxford University. Applications to be completed by end of January.

As well as Work Support Sessions, weekly clubs are also run by members of the department and volunteer 6th Form pupils.   These include:

  • Ancient Greek Club (for 2nd Form pupils)
  • Classics Club (for 1st and 2nd Form pupils)
  • GCSE Latin and Greek Clinic